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Isobel Ashley

Isobel Ashley.

The 19-year-old table tennis player, from Barrow Hill and a student at Sheffield Hallam University, is a member of the Colin Deaton Table Tennis Academy and on the Derbyshire Institute of Sport programme who won her maiden Under-21 series event at the Liverpool Grand Prix.

Isobel says: "I have been playing table tennis since the age of 10, I started at the Colin Deaton Table Tennis Academy in Staveley and since then I have represented many other clubs, my county at both junior and senior level and also the England Table Tennis Association and England Schools Table Tennis Association (ESTTA)

I am currently an Elite Athlete on the Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) programme. I am ranked number seven in the Table Tennis England (TTE) Under -21 Women's ranking list and number 19 in the Senior Women's ranking list.

"Over the past few years, I have won medals at every senior school age while representing ESTTA in international competition, have won the Junior British League Premier Division title on thee occasions while representing Burton Uxbridge.

"I became only the second female player from Derbyshire to win the Derby 4Star Junior Girls Open. 4star events are the highest level of table tennis events in the country, with elite players from all over GB taking part.

"In the Senior Women's British League, I continue to represent Burton Uxbridge Club in the Premier Division where the top British senior women play. Last season I finished with a win percentage of 75 per cent.

"I also represent Aquaestil Table Tennis Club, Duga Resa, Croatia, in the Croatian Women's Supa Liga, and attend training camps in Croatia whenever possible.

"Already this season, I have won my first TTE Under-21 Grand Prix Open title in Liverpool. I hope that this form continues into the main part of the season.

My ambition is to become a professional Table Tennis player, and the Aquaestil Table Tennis Club in Croatia have already offered me a full-time place in their prestigious female club which I have deferred until the completion of my University studies. I also want to represent the TTE Senior Women's team and win medals in international competitions.

"As you can imagine, playing throughout Great Britain and Europe is very expensive, so the support of the ICON bursary certainly goes some way to help with these costs for which I am extremely grateful. Without this support I doubt that I could continue to compete at this elite level."